Thursday, May 21, 2015

The 2015 Read Russia Prize for Translations into English -- Shortlist

Ah, a week of prize news! Read Russia announced, yesterday, the shortlist for the 2015 Read Russia Prize for Russian-to-English translations. The award will be presented in New York on May 29: I’m doubly looking forward to attending because Gary Saul Morson, who taught me War and Peace twice, will be the guest speaker, with the lecture, “Because Everyone Needs a Little Russian Literature.” I’m not sure which came first, the title or the Read Russia bumper sticker, but I’ll see if I can clear that up next week.  

Be that as it may, here’s the shortlist, in alphabetical order by translator. Two finalists translated Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Oliver Ready deserves special recognition for having two books on the list, a particular achievement since one book is a classic, the other a contemporary novel. It’s a varied list all around, and the broad selection of publishers is encouraging. I’ve read two of the translations in full and both were very good. Congratulations to everyone!
  • Rosamund Bartlett’s translation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina; Oxford University Press.
  • Peter Daniels’s translation of Vladislav Khodasevich’s Selected Poems; Overlook Press (UK: Angel Books). 
  • Katherine Dovlatov’s translation of Sergei Dovlatov’s Pushkin Hills (Заповедник); Counterpoint Press (UK: Alma Classics). Katherine Dovlatov’s translation of her father’s Pushkin Hills is lots of fun: I was glad to have it on a stuffy, delayed flight last summer. Recently out in paperback. (There’s a bit more, here.)
  • Jamie Rann’s translation of Anna Starobinets’s The Icarus Gland; Skyscraper Press.
  • Oliver Ready’s translation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment; Penguin UK.
  • Oliver Ready’s translation of Vladimir Sharov’s Before and During; Dedalus Books. With all its cultural references and dense monologues, I can only imagine that Before and During must have been very, very difficult to translate. (Particularly this well!) I wrote a bit about Before and During here.
  • Marian Schwartz’s translation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina; Yale University Press.
Up Next: BookExpo America (and Read Russia Award) trip report, National Bestseller Award. And two books: Eugene Vodolazkin’s Solovyov and Larionov, which I’ll start translating this summer, and Sergei Nosov’s Член общества, или Голодное время (something like Member of the Society or A Time of Hunger), the sad-but-funny story of a man’s life after selling all his Dostoevsky.

Disclaimers: The usual, including work with Read Russia and my incredible good fortune to know most of the translators on this list.


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